Coming out of the Broom Closet
One of the major discussions among Pagan groups is whether or not to be in ‘the broom closet’. This is reference to a person being open about their Pagan beliefs to others, including their friends, family, co-workers, or the general public. It’s a touchy subject, which many Pagans have strong opinions about.
Coming out of the broom closet can lead to broken relationships if the person receiving the news feels strongly against your Pagan beliefs. Some Pagans refuse to be open about their religious beliefs for fear of persecution or judgement by their friends or co-workers. Some Pagans feel that this persecution could go so far as being fired from a job or being disowned by family members.
However ‘coming clean’ about your Pagan beliefs can also be cathartic. Even though one side of the Witches’ Pyramid is ‘To Be Silent’, that doesn’t necessarily mean hiding who you are. Admitting to others what your beliefs are can lead to some surprising results, including finding support from places you did not expect. It can also help you accept yourself and your chosen path, especially if you have struggled to understand why you have been drawn to your current path and where it might lead you.
One way to decide whether or not to share your Pagan beliefs with others is to ask yourself what you might gain and what you might lose if you do so. If the benefits outweigh the repercussions, it might be a good time to consider being honest about your Pagan views. Also, admitting you’re a Pagan for shock value or to upset people is never a good reason to come out of the broom closet.
Coming out could be as easy as telling your friends or family that you’re a Pagan. Naturally there will be questions, so be armed with answers you feel comfortable talking about and that you feel accurately represent your Pagan beliefs and Paganism as a whole. Be prepared for silly or offensive questions, for example, concerns about Satan or Hell. But try not to judge the people asking those questions. Misconceptions about Pagans, Wiccans and witches are very common due to popular media, and outsiders can find it hard to discern between truth and myth.
Whether you are “in” or “out” of the broom closet, it is still a personal choice that can only be made by yourself. Nobody has the right to share your beliefs with others without your express permission. Religion is a personal choice and it’s up to you whether or not you want to share your Pagan beliefs with others.